Could Hamlet be considered a Christian after all of his evil thoughts and deeds which include murder?I am trying to decide if Hamlet is still considered to be a Christian by the definition of the...

Could Hamlet be considered a Christian after all of his evil thoughts and deeds which include murder?

I am trying to decide if Hamlet is still considered to be a Christian by the definition of the word.

 

Asked on by sha3748

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is because Hamlet is a Christian that he tells Horatio and Marcellus in Act I that he will pray having learned of his father's murder.  Indeed, he deliberates long upon the consequences of avenging his father's death since regicide is a serious affair, but also because murder is a mortal sin; Hamlet is a moral man. In his famous "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, Hamlet mentions, "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all" (3.1) in considering suicide because this, too, is a mortal sin in the Roman Catholic world in which Hamlet resides.

That Hamlet is a moral man is also evident in his repudiation of his mother's hasty marriage of Claudius, finding her act pernicious. 

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You could argue by definition that Hamlet is capable of being a Christian. I am reminded of a bumper sticker and several verses from the bible that would support this point. The bumper sticker reads: "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." The bible also recognizes that every sin is a sin. Although Hamlet's sins have been evil and deep, they are equal to little white lies. If Hamlet's heart condition is in such a place that he believes in God and accepts the forgiveness God offers and wants to live a changed life from this point forward, then he could be a Christian. One quote in the end of the play suggests this is possible:

And praised be rashness, for it let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,(10)
Rough-hew them how we will—  (Act V, scene ii)

This quote demonstrates that Hamlet recognizes his humanity. He knows that we try to do things in our own purpose and will, but when the dust clears from the problems of our lives, there is a divine power that determines whether we go to heaven or hell, and when we should be removed from this Earth. Therefore, I believe it is true that he had a belief. If you believe the tenants of the bible that argue man can receive forgiveness for sin, then YES Hamlet could be a Christian

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